Practice day notebooks: Getting ready to see ‘Mo’ Mantha again

Updated with HSJ’s notebook at 3:02 PM: The Detroit Red Wings practiced ahead of tomorrow’s game opposite the Washington Capitals (7 PM EDT on Bally Sports Detroit/NBC Sports Washington Plus/97.1 FM), absent one Gustav Lindstrom, and, after practice, coach Jeff Blashill and captain Dylan Larkin spoke with the media.

The Red Wings’ media corps penned their off-day notebooks, and DetroitRedWings.com’s Daniella Bruce led us off with a couple of Tweets of note from Larkin’s media availability:

In today’s media availability, Dylan Larkin talked about what it will be like to play against Anthony Mantha. He said it will be strange, but he expects Anthony to be “highly motivated & when we’ve seen that out of him we know he can be a dangerous player.” @DetroitRedWings #LGRW— Daniella Bruce (@daniellabruce_) October 26, 2021

Larkin also talked about Lucas Raymond. He said what he likes most about Raymond is his attitude. Said Raymond really believed in himself and believed he’d make an impact on this team. #LGRW @DetroitRedWings— Daniella Bruce (@daniellabruce_) October 26, 2021

The Wings also weighed in:

Wings vs. Caps tomorrow night. #LGRW

🎥 Larkin: https://t.co/BnuMMWfms3
🎥 Blashill: https://t.co/HMaRp4jOgE pic.twitter.com/MKADkOSrJT— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 26, 2021

And MLive’s Ansar Khan kicks off our notebook roundup with this discussion of the “Anthony Mantha reunion game“:

“I’ve talked to him [since the trade],” Larkin said. “He was back here in the summer, training. I expect him to be highly motivated. When we’ve seen that out of him, we know he can be a dangerous player. Let’s be ready. They’re playing well right now. They can score, so we have to be ready to defend.”

The Capitals are 4-0-2 and Mantha has two goals and two assists in six games this season.

The Red Wings acquired Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik (since dealt to the Islanders), a first-round pick in 2021 (used on goaltender Sebastian Cossa) and a second-second selection in 2022 for Mantha, who at times showed much promise as a potentially prolific scorer in Detroit, but whose overall inconsistency prompted the team to move him just five months after signing him to a four-year, $22.75 million contract.

“Big (trades) like that, they’re shocking to the guys in the room,” Larkin said. “To be honest with you, I’m sure Anthony knows it wasn’t going well for many guys last year. He’s excited about his opportunity there, we’re excited to have Jakub. Trades happen. It was shocking at the moment, but it’s part of the game.”

Mantha, in 20 regular season games with Washington, has six goals and six assists.

“Certainly, he was a big piece of our group and really good friend to a number of our players, so that’s always different (to play against) for those guys,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “But I also think it’s a new season and it’ll be more about getting opportunities for guys who are good friends with him to say ‘hi’ and then competing against each other. So, I don’t expect it to be a real big deal.”

Update: Among the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ notes:

Lucas Raymond will be playing for the first time since notching his first career hat trick in the 6-3 win over Chicago on Sunday. The 19-year-old has seven points in six games playing on the first line with Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

“Doesn’t seem like a 19-year-old to me,” Larkin said. “He’s mature beyond his years. I feel like when I was 19, I made a lot of mistakes. I was skating 1,000 miles an hour. I had a lot to learn. Lucas seems like he plays on the right side of the puck. He doesn’t cheat much, which is a big value here. He plays the right way and he gets rewarded for it.”

While the first line has been highly productive, the Wings would like a more balanced offense. The second line of Pius Suter, Robby Fabbri and Filip Zadina has produced only two goals. Suter, who had 27 points in 55 games as a rookie with Chicago last season, is still seeking his first point as a Red Wing.

“They just have to stay with it and work to continue to build up their own production,” Blashill said. “They can be a really good line.”

Vladislav Namestnikov has three of the four goals on the third line, playing with Adam Erne and Michael Rasmussen. They’re often matched up against the opponent’s top scoring line.

“They’re playing in their own end a decent amount,” Blashill said. “It’s important not to judge solely on production. They bring other things to the table.”

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.